Saint Nicholas of Myra; Patron Saint of sailors

Saint Nicholas of Myra; Patron Saint of sailors

Saint Nicholas of Myra also known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of Greek descent from the maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor during the time of the Roman Empire. Nicholas was born in Asia Minor in the Roman Empire as an only child to Christian parents. Both of his parents tragically died during an epidemic when he was a young man, leaving him well off, but to be raised by his uncle - the Bishop of Patara.

Nicholas was determined to devote his inheritance to works of charity. A citizen of Patara had lost all his money and could not marry-off his three daughters due to poverty. So, he decided to give them over to prostitution. Having come to know about this, Nicholas took a bag of gold and threw it into an open window of the man's house in the night. That was dowry for the eldest girl, and she was soon duly married. At intervals Nicholas did the same for the second and the third; at the last time the father was on the watch, recognized his benefactor and overwhelmed Nicholas with his gratitude.

Nicholas was elected as the Bishop of Myra. This was during the time of persecutions in the beginning of the fourth century. Nicholas was seized by the magistrates, tortured and imprisoned with many other Christians. But when Emperor Constantine assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds, and Nicholas returned to Myra.

As against Arianism, Nicholas was against paganism and often took strong measures: among other temples he destroyed was that of Artemis and the evil spirits fled howling before him.

Nicholas is said to have visited the Holy Land. The ship he was on was nearly destroyed by a terrible storm, but he rebuked the waves, causing the storm to subside. Because of this miracle, Nicholas became venerated as the patron saint of sailors and travellers.

Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, unmarried people, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the pious, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus ("Saint Nick") through Sinterklaas.

The Greek histories of his life agree that he suffered an imprisonment of the faith and made a glorious confession in the latter part of the persecution raised by Diocletian, and that he was present at the Council of Nicaea and condemned Arianism. It is said that St. Nicholas died in Myra and was buried in his cathedral.

Other Saints of the Day
1. Saint Abraham of Kratia
2. Saint Asella
3. Saint Dionysia
4. Saint Majoricus
5. Saint Peter Pascual

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